Talkback

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 July, 2004, 12:00am
 

Q In what ways can the book fair improve its international image?


The book fair can improve its international image by having a greater variety of books. Publishers in Hong Kong should not only publish books that sell like hot cakes, such as books about keeping fit and love stories. Philosophy or history books should also be displayed at the book fair. Consequently, everyone would have his or her cup of tea.


Books in a large range of languages should be offered. Books written in French, Italian and so on should be available, but also ones in less common languages. By doing so, books sold at the fair would be suitable for tourists.


Furthermore, promotion of the book fair could be improved by having the details and characteristics of the fair printed on leaflets for foreigners. Discount coupons for books and lower admission fees would also attract tourists.


Last, but not least, it would be better if the book fair lasted longer - for at least one month. In addition, having renowned writers attending book-signing sessions would boost the attendance numbers.


Ivy Wu, Yuen Long


Q Would the Mega Tower project help to rejuvenate Wan Chai?


The scale of the project is so massive that I don't think anyone really understands the impact that it will have on this boisterous neighbourhood.


Wan Chai can renew itself without the overbearing input of huge developments. I think the scheme has more chance of paralysing traffic and suffocating life by overcrowding, rather than 'revitalising'.


The renewal projects pander only to property developers. What is necessary in Wan Chai is refurbishment, pedestrian-only areas and a general widening of footpaths. When will our city realise that people are more important than cars?


As an example, Spring Garden Lane is chaotic at present, but it doesn't need rejuvenation, just reorganisation.


Sally Ho, Mid-Levels


On other matters ...


It is encouraging to learn that the Health and Welfare Bureau finally decided to propose the annexation of new legislation prohibiting trucks extracting seawater from polluted sites for use in seafood restaurants.


But the basic argument is - where are the polluted sites? A site that is considered polluted may become 'clean' after three months if the authority does its groundwork in eliminating the pollution through various means.


It would be meaningless if taxpayers' money was wasted by defence lawyers arguing about the proper connotation of polluted sites.


In most people's opinion, seawater collected from the urban waterfront (which is very long) may be considered polluted. There is a minimum standard that needs to be stated, and I think labelling the urban waterfront as polluted is appropriate by any standard. The other matter worth mentioning is that the legislation should also address the appropriate requirements for transporting seawater in trucks.


Every day, hundreds of seawater-delivery trucks roam the streets of our city spilling tonnes of seawater onto the road. This happens because the drivers are inconsiderate and take no proper measures to contain the seawater in concealed vessels so that it doesn't spill.


There are three consequences. First, the road surface becomes dangerously slippery after these trucks pass. Second, a nuisance to other road users is caused because of the dirtying of other motor vehicles by the spillage of seawater. And third, the public is exposed to the health hazards associated with the dirty seawater.


Joseph Lee, biochemist, Queen Mary Hospital


The new law requiring minibus passengers to buckle up where belts are provided will become effective from Sunday. There is also a law that requires passengers to buckle up while riding in a cab, front or back. We also see government 'educational' footage on television stressing the importance of wearing seat belts whenever people are travelling in a vehicle.


However there are no laws concerning seat belts to ensure children's safety on school buses. Why should children's safety be compromised when we all know that it could be a matter of life and death when people are not buckled up?


Why has the Department of Transport not advocated such a law, which will clearly protect our children? All school buses should have seat belts installed and used by all passengers as soon as possible.


I have always buckled up as soon as I get into a car. My children have been wearing seat belts (and were buckled up in car seats when younger) since they were born. They have always been taught that this is a 'must do' because of safety.


Unfortunately, not all parents educate their children likewise, and often, we see parents holding babies and children while riding in the front or back seats of a vehicle. It seems that the authorities also lack the will to prosecute irresponsible drivers and passengers on this matter.


May Luk, Tai Po


The solution to the oversupply of supermarket plastic bags lies not with the consumer, but with the cashier.


Supermarkets should work out the average number of bags given out and then award the cashier 10 cents for each bag that remains at the end of the day.


The multiples of 10 cents would make a good deal of difference over one month to the salary of a cashier, but only a few dollars difference to the average consumer.


John Martin, Kennedy Town


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